Jayson Tatum admits 2022-23 Boston Celtics had the wrong attitude

2024 NBA Finals - Game One
2024 NBA Finals - Game One / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Jayson Tatum admitted that the 2022-23 Boston Celtics had the wrong attitude -- thinking that they'd cakewalk back into the NBA Finals after taking the Golden State Warriors to six games in 2022 under Ime Udoka.

“Maybe last year, us losing in the conference finals,” Tatum said when asked what was the moment that changed his perspective to take things in a little more (h/t Boston.com). “Maybe I just expected that after we lost in 2022, that it was guaranteed we were just going to keep coming back and this is like, our time. Last year was just kind of like, a wake-up call to not take anything for granted because you never know how many opportunities you might have.”

It was a fool's errand to expect the exact same results under first-year head coach Joe Mazzulla even with more talent on the roster. While Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon was undoubtedly an upgrade over Aaron Nesmith and Daniel Theis talent-wise at the time, adding a veteran who felt like he deserved to start ended up being a chemistry challenge.

It's not surprising that it took six games to knock off the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, seven games to knock off the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, and a comeback from down 3-0 to force the Eastern Conference Finals to go seven games against the Miami Heat with this in mind.

Switching things up has made all the difference for the Boston Celtics

It's natural for a team to think that keeping all of their main pieces and grabbing the one thing they were missing -- in the C's case in 2022, a pass-first point guard like Brogdon -- and assume another Finals trip was imminent.

Sometimes, though, complacency creeps in and the same mix that used to work no longer does. That's what Boston experienced in 2023, and over the offseason, the Celtics changed the core of who they were by trading Marcus Smart, Brogdon, and Robert Williams III for Game 1 hero Kristaps Porzingis and unsung postseason star Jrue Holiday.

Everything has worked thus far with this new roster, and Banner 18 feels closer than it has since Banner 17 was raised.